By Corey Oldenhuis
Lincoln Calling Day 2: Duffy’s:
Powers (CD release party)
Overpowering the ears with thick, distorted bass fuzz and screeching guitar sass, Nebraskan band Dirty Talker kicked off Wednesday’s Lincoln Calling events at Duffy’s Tavern.
Lead singer and bassist Justin Kohnmetscher’s vocals were indistinct clamors at their worst, and angsty howls at their best. Some of the break-downs featured in their songs were downright cacophonous—but intentionally so, and in a semi-acceptable “grunge” sort of way.
Dirty Talker used a lot of interesting time signatures and rhythmic patterns, some of which made it frustratingly difficult to tap your feet or bob your head. In every song, however, they seemed to have a section wherein bass and guitar would coalesce and blast forth into an exhilarating payoff.
The best way to describe the band is ‘really disheveled alternative hard rock,’ a type of music which, much like calamari or coffee black, is an acquired taste. If you have those taste buds that crave ‘off the beaten path’, ‘in-your-face,’ ‘this is very weird but I kind of like it’ type of rock, then Dirty Talker is well worth a listen.
Though they hail from Sin City, the following act Rusty Maples boasted a sound that was pretty damn righteous.
When drummer Max Plenke’s thumping beats were matched by frontman Blair Dewane’s fervent guitar strums, it nearly evoked the styles of Mumford & Sons’—but only for a fleeting moment. Rusty Maples has much more edge, way less banjo (thankfully), and aren’t as genre-concentrated as the folky Mumford, which seems to allow them greater freedom in what they write.
Ian Dewane’s electric guitar acted often as the band’s melodic foundation, while Blair’s vocals and busy acoustic action laid the sweet-sounding bricks of each song. Blair’s voice was an enjoyable contrast of bucolic warmth and jaggedness, and in rare moments was even pleasantly haunting.
The often comedic front man’s body jerked to the music like a southern church parishioner possessed by the Holy Ghost, and the band galvanized most patrons into similar motion with high-energy song climaxes, surprisingly euphonic three-part vocal harmonies, and good ole fashion catchiness. The Rusty Maples is a group with a lot of potential; their sound is familiar enough to be popular but unique enough to be refreshing.
To top off Lincoln Calling’s hump day at Duffy’s, lovable locals known as Powers took stage and rocked a swelling audience in celebration of their album release. Playing riffs that teased progressive rock technicality and commanded with hard rock driving force, the four man band defended their title of being homegrown heroes admirably.
Powers utilizes layers keenly: sometimes in starting a tune, the lead guitarist Kelly Houchen would establish a repetitive and pervasive riff, and then it would become supported by a richer, much heartier Dave Arrendondo riff and a pumping Jason Morris bass groove.Drummer Jordan Elfer’s fills were excellent, and accompanied the charging guitars perfectly.
Though they don’t put on much of a memorable act (no provocative personas, weird costumes, etc.) the straightforward Powers does set a standard that declares high octane music to be must and the quenching of rock-thirsty ears to be a duty.
Seeds Entertainment does not take credit for the above photo of Rusty Maples.